Tips for Using Email to Build Your Home Business

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Definition of Email Marketing

Email marketing involves sending email messages to a list of prospects or current customers as a way to promote your products and stay in touch with your market. It is essentially the same as direct mail except that instead of sending mail through the postal service, messages are sent electronically via email.

How Email Marketing Can Build a Home Business

With the arrival of social media, many say that email marketing is dead; however, businesses successfully using email are quick to discount that claim.

Email marketing is still one of the best ways to market your home business. Here's why:

1) Prospects and customers are more likely to see an email than social media. Social media streams move quickly and in some cases, posts won't even show up in streams. However, ​an email will sit in the inbox until it's read (or deleted). 

2) Builds trust and rapport. Through email, you can share your tips, expertise and other information that lets people know who you are and what you have to offer. 

3) Increase income. Business owners that do email correctly (see below), have a marked increase in their income when they send an email. This doesn't mean they're directly selling something, although often they are. But email can be used to get people back your website or blog, and more traffic usually equates to more income. 

How Email Marketing Can Create Problems

In the past, many businesses bought email lists (which you can still do), and like traditional mailing lists, sent messages to the names.

However, this annoyed many recipients and led to the creation of the concept of "spam" and the development of acceptable rules of email marketing.

Email marketing works best when you generate your own list. Even so, you need to treat your list well. People don't sign up to an email list to get sold all the time.

You can be considered a spammer even if people sign up for your list, especially if all you do is send useless information or emails that always ask your subscribers to buy. 

Today, the CAN-SPAM act provides a set of rules you need to follow for email marketing. These rules include having a non-deceptive subject line, a method of unsubscribing, and your name and address at the end of the emails. 

How to Get Started with Email Marketing

Like all marketing strategies, email marketing requires a plan. Before signing up for a list service and generating subscribers, have a sense of what you're going to email. Will you be doing a newsletter? Will it go out weekly or monthly? What are your goals for your email marketing? It can help to set up a regular email day(s) so your subscribers know what to expect from you when.

After you've made your plan, it's time to set up your list, promote your list, and start using your list to help your subscribers. The key to success in email marketing is to treat your list well. These people have sent you their email and name, and therefore should be treated extra special. 

Also Known As: e-mail marketing

Alternate Spellings: e-mail marketing

Examples: I restrict my email marketing efforts to my monthly email newsletter, which I only send to those who request it.

Updated December 2015 Leslie Truex